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Dear Madam Secretary General,

25 years ago, our predecessors, Evgeny Primakov and Daniel Tarshis, signed documents in Strasbourg on the entry of the Russian Federation into the Council of Europe (CE).

A long way has been covered in a quarter of a century. Russia has joined 68 treaties and 9 partial agreements of the Council of Europe. The European Convention on Human Rights has become the backbone of its legislation and law enforcement practice. Our country makes a significant contribution to work in priority areas for the CE, including the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking, protection of the rights of national and linguistic minorities, cooperation in the field of health care, culture, sports, education, and artificial intelligence.

This anniversary is of particular importance for Strasbourg, for all members of the Council of Europe. In 1996, for the first time since its inception, our Organization acquired truly pan-European coordinates. Then it seemed that the dream of several generations of European politicians about a “common home” from Lisbon to Vladivostok was becoming a reality. Remembering those years, we ask ourselves why the Europeans failed to take full advantage of this historic chance, why not all our expectations were met.

I am convinced that the future of the Council of Europe depends on its ability to maintain its independence and truly pan-European character, not to become hostage to bloc approaches and thinking, to work without double standards in the interests of all countries of the continent. The experience of recent years suggests how important it is to prevent the Parliamentary Assembly from becoming an arena for settling scores. Refrain from imposing non-consensual documents. Ensure that the activities of the European Court of Human Rights are free from political and ideological bias.

In the context of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, the potential of the Council of Europe is more in demand than ever before to unite the efforts of states in healthcare and exchange best practices. No geopolitical or economic calculations should be placed above the interests of protecting the health of their own citizens.

The lack of a proper response to such massive and long-term violations of human rights, such as discrimination against the Russian and Russian-speaking population in Ukraine and the Baltic states, undermines the authority of the Council of Europe. The organization that emerged from the ruins of World War II should not be indifferent to the manifestations of historical revisionism and the glorification of Nazi collaborators.

Let me congratulate you, Madame Secretary General, on this significant date for Moscow and Strasbourg, and wish you success in your responsible mission, and to the Council of Europe unity, stability and consistency in achieving the goals set in its Charter for the benefit of all Europeans.




EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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